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New space mission for Andreas Mogensen: First non-US pilot on a SpaceX mission

The Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen is off on a space mission again. As a pilot this time and on a six-month mission. So far, the astronauts that have been pilots on SpaceX missions have all been Americans; now, for the first time ever, the pilot spot has been assigned to a Danish astronaut.

Mar 24, 2022

For the first time ever, a non-American is to be a pilot on a SpaceX mission.

NASA has selected the Danish ESA astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, as one of two pilots on an upcoming Space X mission, which in July 2023 will take off for ISS, the International Space Station, at the start of a six-month mission.

This has just been announced by Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), at the 2022 Space Conference at DTU in Lyngby. The Minister for Higher Education and Science,  Jesper Petersen, is attending and speaking at this event, which is hosted by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science.

The plan is to launch four astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon from Florida in the USA to start a six-month mission on the space station. The astronauts will fly back to Earth in February 2024.

This new mission will provide unique access for Danish researchers and companies to have research projects carried out on the space station.

In June 2021, the government presented five new objectives for the national space strategy, which this mission to the ISS will help fulfil. The new objectives focus on how space-based technology and infrastructure can contribute to Danish climate goals, the development of smart cities, an efficient and digitally competent public sector, the creation of added green value, as well as general security and emergency preparedness plans.

Activities related to research and technology development will be funded by the institutions and companies concerned, while the launch and astronaut working time will be covered by the ESA.

Comment from the Minister for Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen:

- The first non-American pilot on a SpaceX mission also happens to be Denmark's first astronaut. Andreas Mogensen has done a magnificent job. I am not only proud of this because I am Danish; I am also happy and grateful for the honour in my capacity as Minister. Andreas Mogensen has a scientific background and is an invaluable ambassador for scientific and technical studies. He is also an inspiration to future Danish astronauts. Space research will play an even greater and more important role in future research and innovation; not least in connection with solving the huge climate challenges we are now facing. Through this expedition, Danish researchers will have the opportunity to do research which would otherwise not be possible – for example, in connection with climate change mitigation. I am eagerly looking forward to following these events.

Comment from Astronaut Andreas Mogensen:

- I'm really looking forward to returning to the ISS. I have been looking forward to this mission ever since I came back to earth on 12 September 2015 after my first period on the ISS. The space station is an incredible laboratory, where we perform basic research and at the same time prepare for future manned missions to the moon and Mars. Space travel is therefore about the future - about the world and the society we want to create. Space travel represents the belief in a brighter, greener, more enlightened and expansive world on which humanity can develop and grow.

Facts

  • Andreas Mogensen will be launched aboard SpaceX Crew-7 Dragon from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He is also a reserve pilot for Crew-6.
  • The SpaceX Crew-7 Dragon may be moved forward a few months if Boeing succeeds in launching Starliner.
  • Since his last mission, Andreas Mogensen has worked at Mission Control in Houston, carrying out many tasks, including guiding astronauts on spacewalks.
  • On the basis of Denmark's participation in the ISS since 1998, back in 2009 the ESA selected Andreas Mogensen to be an astronaut, along with five other European astronauts.
  • Andreas Mogensen became the first Dane in space on 2 September 2015, when he was sent on the 10-day Iriss mission to the ISS, working as a flight engineer and performing various scientific experiments.
  • The missions of European astronauts are supported by ESA's Exploration Programme, Terrae Novae, in close cooperation with NASA.
  • The ESA contributes 8% of NASA's 50% share in the ISS.

For further information:

Please direct press inquiries to the press team of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science on +45 7231 818, or to presse@ufm.dk  

last modified Mar 24, 2022